State Department disabled internal security features after it blocked email from Clinton's private server

The Associated Press has an important story on some new revelations coming from emails released as part of the Judicial Watch lawsuit. The AP’s headline, “Emails: State Dept. scrambled on trouble on Clinton’s server,” really buries the lede though. The story here isn’t just that Clinton had email trouble and the State Department didn’t know what to do. The story is that part of their effort to ensure Clinton’s emails got through to State Department staffers involved disabling internal security features designed to protect the system from phishing attacks:

The emails, reviewed by The Associated Press, show that State Department technical staff disabled software on their systems intended to block phishing emails that could deliver dangerous viruses. They were trying urgently to resolve delivery problems with emails sent from Clinton’s private server.

“This should trump all other activities,” a senior technical official, Ken LaVolpe, told IT employees in a Dec. 17, 2010, email. Another senior State Department official, Thomas W. Lawrence, wrote days later in an email that deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin personally was asking for an update about the repairs. Abedin and Clinton, who both used Clinton’s private server, had complained that emails each sent to State Department employees were not being reliably received.

After technical staffers turned off some security features, Lawrence cautioned in an email, “We view this as a Band-Aid and fear it’s not 100 percent fully effective.”

Initially the AP assumed the disabling of security features mentioned in the emails referred to Clinton’s server. But after the story went up State spokesman John Kirby clarified it was the State Department itself which had disabled security features. Kirby said the department had taken, “a series of troubleshooting measures to the department’s system — not Secretary Clinton’s system — to attempt to remedy the problem.” The AP doesn’t say this but the implication here is that the State Department’s own security measures were treating Clinton’s private server as a security threat and blocking her emails.

Just weeks after the technical problem with Clinton’s server, Bryan Pagliano sent emails saying he needed to shut down her server because someone was attempting to hack it. From Judicial Watch:

On January 9, 2011, the non-Departmental advisor to President Clinton who provided technical support to the Clinton email system notified the Secretary’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations that he had to shut down the server because he believed “someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt [sic] want to let them have the chance to.” Later that day, the advisor again wrote to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, “We were attacked again so I shut [the server] down for a few min.”

The very next day, Huma Abedin emailed other top aides saying, “Don’t email hrc anything sensitive. I can explain more in person.”